by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
Latest Walmart Actions Leave Sweeping Contractors in the Lurch
In recent weeks Walmart has taken several actions that negatively affect the hundreds of sweeping companies providing services to the 5,000 Walmart locations around the U.S. We delayed our October issue as long as possible to provide our readers with the latest possible information on this topic.
As anyone who sweeps for the company knows, reporting is currently done to a third party entity called ServiceChannel. More recently – although Walmart had specifically stated in its most recent RFP that it wanted to move toward working directly with contractors – many contracts actually were awarded to various third party vendors, like Divisions, Mirror Lawn, etc. That inserted yet another layer getting paid for oversight, money that ultimately comes out of the pockets of the contractors doing the actual work of sweeping and other maintenance.
In August Walmart announced that the third party vendor, CBRE, had been given oversight over, as far as can be determined from the notoriously difficult-to-contact giant retailer, all of its contracts for parking area sweeping and exterior maintenance. This brings yet another entity skimming off money that otherwise might be paid to the contractors doing the work.
Even more alarming is that CBRE is requiring a $425 "background check" – even for contractors with a long-standing pre-existing relationship with Walmart. Further, the notice from CBRE the existing contractor payment period of approximately 14 days to up to 60 days.
As far as we've been able to determine, this change and any others in connection with the hiring of CBRE are being made without a new contract being issued by Walmart, a new RFP being sent out, contracts being re-bid, etc.
Now, in October, a number of sweeping contractors have reported receiving notices that their number of sweeping days per week have been reduced (from seven to five; five to three, etc.), as well. To date, this step by Walmart – set to take effect the first of November – has also been done without offering a new RFP or contract re-bid.
Members of the World Sweeping Association have received periodic updates on the pushback WSA has done on their behalf with Walmart Corporate since the first notice about adding CBRE was sent out by the company in August. However, because of the serious import to the entire contract sweeping industry of these heavy-handed moves by Walmart, WSA made the decision to provide documentation of the Associations correspondence with Walmart available to the greater sweeping community.
These moves by America's largest retailer are an affront to our industry. WSA has pledged to continue the fight toward finding a way to achieve an equitable solution. Because of the import of this issue to the parking area sweeping community, we are providing complete information, as we know it to date, as our lead story in this issue of the newsletter.
As always, if you have any news of potential interest to the power sweeping community, please let us know. Between this publication, the WorldSweeper.com website, and the World Sweeping Association, we'll be sure to get the information passed along to interested readers.
Executive Director, World Sweeping Association
Member, PAVEMENT Hall of Fame
PS If you're a contractor I urge you to check out the many benefits of membership in the World Sweeping Association. Also, if you haven't 'liked' our WorldSweeper Facebook page, what are you waiting for? That's where we offer a variety of industry previews and updates on an ongoing basis.
October Newsletter Contents
(Scroll down to read stories or click on links below.)
- Details About the Changes at Walmart
- Triverus: Excelling at Pervious Cleaning, Stormwater Management
- San Francisco Deems Nordsense Intelligent Waste Bin Sensors a Success
- Meeting TMDL Requirements Via Sweeping
- Award-winning Roderick Bell Plays Critical Role for City
- Vintage Elgin-Leach White Wing 8-Page Brochure
- Not Exactly Sweeping: Irish Teenager Wins Google Science Award for Removing Microplastics From Oceans
Details About the Changes at Walmart
The new requirements at Walmart create a financial burden on power sweeping contractors around the U.S. Assuming the average contractor sweeps 10 Walmart locations, there are about 500 sweeping contractors working for the company. Using that stat, the $425 'background check' being imposed by CBRE amounts to $212,500 (500 x $425) being taken out of the pockets of U.S. power sweeping contractors, all of whom have signed an existing contract that did not require such.
As for CBRE's stated intent of extending payment from 14 days until 60 days: Assuming five-day-per-week sweeping at a modest $45/sweep, contractors were already providing Walmart with a 'float' of $4500 until they got paid (e.g., 5 days x $45/sweep x 2 weeks x 10 locations). With an extension to 60 days and, given the above assumptions, that negative cash flow moves to a staggering $18,000 per contractor. Plus, none of the above takes into account the recent reductions in service, which it appears were also mandated without contract review...
Check out this PDF file to see the correspondence sent to date by the World Sweeping Association on behalf of its Members.
Triverus: Excelling at Pervious Cleaning, Stormwater Management
Triverus has been very successful to date with its high efficiency surface cleaners, which are blurring the lines between sweepers and power washers. At the same time, Triverus' products are advancing the environmental value provided when it comes to surface cleaning.
The company's product line includes one used for cleaning aircraft carrier decks; another for airport ramps, runways, and all aircraft traffic areas; and, in addition, one for surface cleaning, paint preparation, stormwater pollution prevention and more in parking decks and elsewhere.
Our story includes an approximately 19-minute audio podcast interview with Triverus' CEO, Hans Vogel.
Read the story and listen to the audio podcast.
San Francisco Deems Nordsense Intelligent Waste Bin Sensors a Success
Nordsense, a Denmark-based artificial intelligence-based waste management technology company, has partnered with the City of San Francisco to optimize waste collection across the city.
The results were an 80 percent drop in the number of overflowing bins, as well as a 64 percent decrease in illegal dumping and a 66 percent decrease in street cleaning requirements. Complaints from the public concerning trash overflow in smart bins were "eliminated."
Check out the story and the results.
Meeting TMDL Requirements Via Sweeping
Stormwater Magazine's online edition showcased the use of a street sweeper to use as a BMP to meet the stringent permit requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) in Washington County, MD, which is in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
After a cost assessment of implementing Chesapeake Bay requirements tallied up to more than $1 billion, the county sought a less expensive solution. A study on the costs of storm water management practices prepared for the Maryland Department of the Environment Science Services Administration found that air street sweepers provided the lowest average annual cost over 20 years per impervious acre treated. As a result, the county purchased a Schwarze A8 regenerative air machine.
Read about it.
Award-winning Roderick Bell Plays Critical Role for City
Roderick Bell, a Parks & Beautification Department Crew Leader in Macon, GA, won a state street sweeper competition at the annual American Public Works Association Georgia Chapter Conference at the Public Works Equipment Show. The competition had obstacle courses for street sweepers across Georgia to go through that simulated everyday working conditions. The course was timed, and points were deducted for hitting obstacles, according to the release.
Bell said he wants people to understand the importance of his job and not see the sweepers as an annoyance. "I really would like people, a lot of people, to recognize Parks & Beautification," he said. "This small department packs a big bang in the community. Our guys go out, and we work hard for what we have, the little people that we have here."
Read about Bell
Vintage Elgin-Leach White Wing 8-Page Brochure
"The potential buyer of an Elgin White Wing will find in it a combination of three desirable rollable performance factors: (1) minimum first cost, (2) excellent sweeping ability, and (3) economical operation, service and maintenance." So states this Elgin White Wing brochure that, unfortunately, has no date. Plus, touts the brochure, the sweeper comes in both three- and four-cubic yard configurations.
Take a look at the Elgin White Wing as well as others in our series of historical sweeper brochures.
The round-nosed Elgin White Wing was considered to be one of the most iconic sweepers ever built. If you're a history buff of the power sweeping industry, you will truly enjoy leafing through this 8-page brochure for the Elgin White Wing.
Not Exactly Sweeping: Irish Teenager Wins Google Science Award for Removing Microplastics From Oceans
The climate crisis looms large for young people. We see teenagers like Greta Thunberg inspiring kids around the world to take part in political activism. Then, there are solution-seekers like Fionn Ferreira, an 18 year-old Irish wunderkind, who won the grand prize at the 2019 Google Science Fair for creating a method to remove microplastics from the ocean.
Ferreira's project used a novel, but effective methodology for removing ocean plastics. He used magnets to attract microplastics from water. The project found that a magnetic liquid called ferrofluid attracted the tiny plastic particles and removed them from the water. After nearly a thousand tests, his device successfully removed about 88 percent of the microplastics from water samples.
The Google Science Fair invited 24 young scientists from around the world to its Mountain View, California campus to show off their projects. The invitees were chosen from a short list of 100 global entries. Ferreira's grand prize is $50,000 in educational funding.
Read more about the award-winning concept.